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Are you planning a Disneyland vacation and want to know the best way to save on everything from hotel rooms to park tickets? We are going to share the easiest way to get the best deal on a tight budget. Check out how we put together our Disneyland budget so you can get a good idea of how much money your Disneyland trip will cost you.
The biggest part about budgeting for Disneyland is deciding what’s the most important to you. Whether it’s a super nice hotel, trying all the snacks and treats in the parks, or getting to get all the souvenirs you want. Make sure you decide ahead of time and plan for those things. Disneyland won’t ever be a “cheap” vacation. But we are going to share a lot of great ways that you can save money on different things. Then you can put that money towards the things that are important to you and your family.
How Do We Know How To Save Money at Disneyland?
First thing, we have big families so we are always looking the best way to enjoy Disneyland park without spending a lot of money. Our families have been to Disneyland multiple times so we have learned a lot over the years on how to best budget for your trip and save money. We have found the best place to get discount Disneyland tickets is with Get Away Today. Not only do you save money getting your park hopper ticket, but they also partner with so many southern California hotels in addition to the Disneyland Resort hotels. So you can save money there too. We have used Get Away Today for years and have always had an amazing experience. If you use code Creative10 to save $10 on your Disney vacation package.
What Should a General Budget for Disneyland Look Like?
This is just a general guideline to help you plan for costs. Remember that prices can change at anytime, so make sure you are looking at current costs.
Disneyland Tickets –
For a 3-day hopper ticket, plan on $385 per adult and $365 per child. The more days you purchase, the more savings you get. You can also save by doing 1 park per day instead of hopper passes.
Food at Disneyland –
Plan for $15 per adult and $8 per child for a quick service meal. For a table service meal, plan on $35-$50 per adult and $20-$30 per child, depending on the restaurant. Snacks can range anywhere from $3.99 – $10. Even if you bring your own snacks, I would plan on buying at least one per family member per day.
This is something that you want to talk to your family about ahead of time. It would be best to give a price limit before you even go. That way no one will get their heart set on something expensive, only to be told no. We go often enough that we usually only allow for $30 per person. However, if this is a one time thing, you might want to up that price point. You can also tell your kids that you will go 50/50 with them on a souvenir.
This can also vary depending on what is important to you. We like to be within walking distance so we don’t have to pay for parking. With the size of our family, we can stay at a nice hotel, within walking distance and free breakfast for $100-$150 per night. If you want more amenities, you will most likely pay more than that. Check out Get Away Today for the best deals!
If you are planning to fly, make sure you check out all the airport options close to Disneyland and how much it will cost. (Don’t forget to add in extra baggage costs!) If you are driving, there are websites that will calculate your car’s MPG and give you a pretty good estimate of how much it will cost in fuel. For us it’s always been cheapest to drive. We usually spend about $400-$600 in gas for our van.
Easy Ways to Save Money on your Disneyland Trip
Picking the Right Hotel
Pick a hotel that suites your needs. Staying at the Disneyland hotel or Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel can be a great experience. But if it doesn’t meet your needs, you won’t be getting the most bang for your buck. You don’t have to stay on Disney property to have a great time at the Happiest Place on Earth. There are a lot of nearby hotels that are close to the theme parks that range from budget price to deluxe resorts with water parks! Make sure you take the time to find the hotel that will work best for your family.
If you are driving in or getting a rental car, make sure you look for a hotel that has free parking. You don’t need that additional cost. (Pro tip: Get Away Today has a lot of off site hotels that give guests extra perks like free parking.) If you don’t want to worry about a rental car or parking, you can find a lot of great hotels near the Disney resort and Downtown Disney that are within walking distance. That’s also great if you have young children or a family member that can’t walk far.
When are the Cheapest Times to go to Disney Parks?
You can save money by avoiding peak times for you Disney trip. Avoid Spring Break, specialty park days (like Star Wars and holiday events), weekends in the summer, and most holiday/school break weekends. Weekdays during January and February seems to see lower crowds. But you also do run the risk of some rides being closed for maintenance or removal of holiday overlays. Those times also show lower costs for flights and hotel rooms. We’ve also found that the best time for us to go is second week of September. You can also try the week before the week of Thanksgiving. Those have always been good weeks for us!
How do I Find the Best Disneyland Ticket Prices
We have personally found that purchasing a multi day pass, whether it’s a park hopper option or one park per day tickets, is a great deal that saves you a lot of money. We are big fans of park hopping because we feel like you can get the most out of your day. Many times one park will be busier than the other. So if you have the option of heading over to the other park for a few hours to hit some of your favorite rides, that’s always a good idea. However, if you are only going for a couple days, you can check to see if there will be lower tier days. If they are, you can save money by buying individual daily tickets if you are only going for two days.
Using Get Away Today, for September 6th & 7th, 2022, a 2 day, one park per day pass will cost you $253 for an adult pass. Those are set prices and do not change based on the day. But if you look at the Disneyland website, a one day, one park per day pass for those same dates is only $104 per day, $208 total. That is a $45 savings! So if you aren’t looking to park hop, and only going for two days, you can save money with one day tickets! Remember, this only works when you are doing two days, one park per day and it will only save you on non-peak days. This is also probably the only time we would have you look outside of Get Away Today for Disneyland tickets.
How much does food cost at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park?
An easy way to save money on your Disneyland vacation is to cut down on food costs. Good news is that Disney lets you bring your own food in. When we go as a family, we try to find a hotel that has free breakfast and maybe a kitchenette to make sandwiches and quick/easy meals. We also hit up local grocery stores so we can bring our own food and snacks. Each day we plan one meal at a quick-service restaurant so we can try the different foods. We also try to look ahead at what snacks we want to try so we can plan for those. Also, we only plan one meal per trip at one of the table service restaurants. Those are usually much more spendy than the average cost of a quick service meal. We also bring a reusable water bottle per person, because the parks have a ton of bottle refill stations. Bottled water is REALLY expensive in the parks, but you can also grab an ice water from any of the quick service places for free. When it comes to treats, we make it a game. We get one or two treats and we each take a couple bites and rate how much we like it. It gets my kids to share and we aren’t having the extra cost of tons of treats for each person.
Do I have to get Disney Genie + to enjoy the parks?
I will be 100% honest, the first time we used Genie +, we were pretty disappointed. Even after reading about how to use it and all the tips and tricks, we felt like we really didn’t get to ride the rides that we wanted to. Some of the lightning lanes were kind of long, and felt like it wasn’t worth it. Then we decided to give it another shot. We learned from our previous mistakes and worked the system to our advantage to get the most out of it. It was also a big bonus to have the photo pass added with it to get all the fun magic shots, character photos, and other photo opportunities. Let’s say we were going to the park for 3 days. I would probably get Genie + one day to make sure that everyone got to go on the rides they wanted to and hit a couple of our favorites again.
Getting on Rides WITHOUT using Genie+
Now, you don’t NEED Genie + to enjoy the parks. We love to rope drop to get a bunch of rides in before the park gets busy! Make sure you are at the park at least 30 mins before the gates open, and plan which rides you want to hit first. You can easily get 3-5 rides under your belt in the first couple of hours. It’s all about what rides are most important to you to ride.
It also helps to be prepared for long lines. If you have little games and treats, that helps make the wait go by faster and seem like you are spending so much time standing around. You can also pull up information about the ride you are waiting for, share it’s history and how it was built.
Do you have older kids? Anyone over 7 years old can ride by themselves. If you are confident your kids can handle riding alone, utilize all the single rider lines. You can get on the rides much faster and still have a great time. In the long run, we feel like it’s up to each individual on whether Genie + is the best option.
What other ways can I save money on my Disneyland trip?
Check with your credit card company. Some credit cards give extra hotel or theme park perks, like double or triple points or cash back. If you have a Chase Disney card, you get many discounts that are similar to Magic Key Holder discounts. You can also get exclusive character meet and greets and exclusive photo ops.
If you are planning a trip after holidays or birthdays, let people know you are and ask for Disney gift cards instead of presents. These are easy to save because they won’t be used on anything else. They are perfect for meals, treats, and souvenirs!
Who We Use to Book Our Disney Vacations
USE GET AWAY TODAY! I know I have mentioned them a lot, but they really are the best place to book your Disneyland vacation through. You can do a lay away for your trip and make payments. They will also honor the prices if you find lower ticket prices or your hotel price goes down. They handle all of the busy work so you don’t have to worry about it. Also, if you add their Peace of Mind package, if your trip gets canceled or has to be rescheduled, it will be covered and they will help you with everything. Their customer service is amazing, you won’t be disappointed! Don’t forget to use code Creative10 to save an extra $10 on your vacation package!
Save Up, Plan Ahead, Be Flexible
Again, the most important thing to remember is that Disneyland won’t be a “cheap trip”. You can definitely save money in different ways to make sure that you are stretching your dollar to the max. But ultimately the total cost will really depend on what is most important to you and your family and what you want to spend your money on. Our very best advice is to save, plan ahead but be flexible, and enjoy the magic of the Magic Kingdom. Make cherished memories and enjoy your time as a family.
Do you follow us on social media? We have a dedicated Disney Instagram account @Mainstreethousewives and a Facebook group Disneyland Planning & Help. It’s a great way to stay up to date on everything going on at the Disney parks! We’d love for you to join us!